Johns Island, SC
At once a spectacle and a celebration, this house is its own micro-urban environment, where landscape merges with the built artifact and home merges work/play.
This residence provides a courtyard house setting for work, daily living and play. It includes a full range of sustainable features. A two-bedroom guesthouse complements the spatial generosity of the main house, all connected by the pool terrace. A separate office overlooks the compound.
One arrives at the house having wandered through the dappled shade of second growth forest. The house entrance, not obvious, is announced by the broad angular copper bay raising its end at a cornered stone entry court. The forms and spaces, sculpted to the landscape and the sunlight, are a labyrinth of light/dark, refined/raw, severe/delicate, and transparent/opaque.
Our architectural solution seized this project’s design opportunities: the integrity of the structural systems and building materials as well as the functionality and expressiveness of the environmental interventions. As part of the company’s commitment to best sustainable practices, the design includes a grid of light-capturing skylights allowing the facility to operate without artificial lights for much of the day. The reintroduction of the area’s historical cranberry bog ecology is integral to the site’s stormwater management system through native vegetation and respectful use of the areas natural resources and geology.
This small building consists of ground floor retail with upper floors dedicated to office and residential uses. The facade is arranged with a signage element marking the vertical court where one accesses the upper floors. The brick facade scrim hovers at the second floor, functioning as a mask with an eye at the office. A terrace at the top overlooks King Street and includes a roof extension that is a “cornice” corresponding with the adjacent three-story buildings. Structural elements are articulated and transparent surfaces offer glimpses to the interior events.
Circular Congregational Church is an architectural landmark in Charleston, South Carolina. The church campus is highlighted by a noble main sanctuary building, completed in 1892, and an excellent example of the Richardson Romanesque style and characterized by its massing, ribbons of windows and openings, short tower and large arched entry. Directly adjacent stands the neo-classical education and fellowship building, Lance Hall, that was constructed in 1851. The surrounding churchyard is the oldest burial ground in the city with earliest known graves from the late 17th century.
Over the years Studio A has done several projects for the church, including renovations to all the buildings following 1990’s Hurricane Hugo. A later project included a discrete handicapped access ramp serving the sanctuary building. The most recent work was the classroom addition to Lance Hall, in collaboration with Frank Harmon Architects, and reconfiguring Lance Hall’s interiors to integrate with the new building, a project that doubled the church’s Sunday School facilities.
This fine example of an original "suburban villa," built in the early 1800's is the Office of Development at the Medical University of South Carolina. Studio A was the architect in the restoration and preservation of the building so that offices could be successfully and sensitively incorporated while maintaining the building's overall elegance and wonderful details, exemplified by a grand 3-story piazza and significant Adams-style interior trim.
The King Hotel will be a unique and eclectic entry into the hotel market of Charleston. The small boutique hotel promises to cater to a young, hip demographic with smaller rooms that encourage guests to use the generous public “living rooms” and rooftop pool for social gatherings and events. The building sits mid-block in the Upper King Street entertainment district with a public facade composed of a simple stone grid highlighted by trellised greenery at the entrance level and along a narrow rooftop terrace.
In downtown Charleston, South Carolina, stands this extraordinary example of an original “suburban villa,” built in 1802 by Daniel Cannon, namesake of the surrounding “Cannonborough” neighborhood. The building’s perfect proportions lend a remarkable delicacy to this grand structure. Its wonderful craftsmanship and durability are a testimony to the attention to detail that was accomplished under the guidance of this sawmill owner and house builder. The house was recently described by Historic Charleston Foundation as one of the “...largest, most intact Federal period houses in the city...”
Studio A recognized the need of MUSC to balance the building’s restoration and preservation with the functional requirements of the School of Pharmacy. Studio A and MUSC have worked to integrate the historic significance of the building with the administrative needs of the School.
Pelican Flight Drive, Dewees Island, SC
The form of the house is reminiscent of a simple, vernacular farmhouse, which in this case has been duplicated, offset and separated by a gap that mirrors a naturally occurring breach in the site’s ancient dune line. The slot between the house sections contains vertical movement, both within the house and along the ramped bridge to the seaside pavilion. The two halves are essentially one room wide, creating a variety of spaces with two, but more often, three exposures. Bedrooms occupy the ﬁrst ﬂoor, with public living spaces above with prominent views of the surrounding landscape. The sculptural quality of the building form meshes convincingly with the interior layout, creating interior spaces with variety and elegance.
In 1920, the Catholic Church built the Immaculate Conception School in downtown Charleston to educate African-American children in the surrounding neighborhood. Abandoned for 40 years beginning with school integration in the 1960s, the vacant building proved to be the perfect solution to fill the need for affordable rental housing for seniors in the area. The existing school building would house 21 units and a new, adjacent building would accommodate an additional 42 units. A third element of the program - a small community building - unites these campus components and provides a commons area.
College of Charleston
At the heart of the historic College of Charleston campus, this four-storey house dates to 1826 when the small, private college was forced to raise operating funds by selling off property adjacent to the campus’ center, now known as the “Cistern.” The College re-acquired the house in the late 19th century and the building became one of almost 100 historic buildings the College of Charleston uses today. Like many of those buildings, this historic house suffered from 30 years of student and faculty use and required an extensive interior/exterior renovation. Studio A’s renovations provide new offices and seminar rooms for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
College of Charleston
This high profile project is located at the northwest corner of King and George Streets. The work transforms the pair of masonry buildings, circa 1820, with significant exterior renovations and interior renovation of the ground floor retail space dedicated to College of Charleston gifts. Restoration of cast iron elements and the introduction of grand storefront windows along George Street provide a pedestrian gateway to the College of Charleston campus from the commercial district of King Street and the College of Charleston.
Flag Street, Sullivan's Island, SC
Each generation for more than 150 years is drawn anew to these rugged barrier islands between land and sea. The ebb and flow of human activity here has created a fascinating patchwork of structures. As families grew, the graceful beach cottages sprouted porches and ad hoc additions. In the yards, freestanding kitchens, utility sheds, and servant quarters created clusters of outbuildings. These orderly jumbles of vernacular building forms provided interesting and flexible models for this residence. In keeping with the island’s traditional patterns, the solution called for a small compound of separate buildings, each associated with a distinct use - in powerful opposition to the typical suburban-style behemoth.
State Street, Charleston, SC
Renovations to the kitchen building and a 200 square foot addition to serve as a newly expanded kitchen and renovated master bathroom.
The addition is a jewel-like glass enclosure behind a garden wall, and nestled between the existing house and the kitchen building. This kitchen addition provides for the house to engage the garden designed by the famed landscape architect Loutrell Briggs. The existing kitchen building is gleaned of its 1970s era renovation, allowing the original brick walls and wood roof and floor structures to be expressed. Sleek and contemporary fixtures and cabinetry are artfully juxtaposed to the rustic building’s interior.
An extant 1790s era house and kitchen building that had historically served as a shipping office, and lies within the tightly confined, French Quarter district of downtown Charleston, South Carolina.
Planters Row, Hilton Head Island, SC
Entering the site through the dappled shade, the house emerges from the tree cover – a tightly rendered box of shingle and brick, with its roof floating above. A “detached garage” and a long, sweeping, cantilevered bay at the front door frame the entrance court. The beachside of the house to the south is less formal, characterized by a sunny exercise room extension and rooftop terrace. Ground level terraces follow the gentle topography around the pool, protected by the rise of the dunes. The interior spaces are arranged on the classic piano nobile principle, with primary living spaces a floor above grade, providing for broad views toward the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean beyond the dunes.
Four duplexes, each consisting of two 2-bedroom units with 780 square feet and 150 square feet of porch.
The buildings are contemporary renderings of the classic Charleston “single house,” with interior spaces aligned in a narrow strip, generally one room wide, paralleled by a tiered porch, or “piazza”. This traditional model of the single-family home was well suited for adaptation to a one-up, one-down duplex configuration, with an exterior stair to access the second floor unit. The apartments were designed and built as prototypes for affordable housing units, which were sorely needed after the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. The client, Charleston Affordable Housing, Inc., is a community-based, non-profit development organization.
As is the case with many vacant lots in low income urban areas, this vacant lot had become overgrown and littered with beer cans and broken glass. Extending 80 feet along a side street, the lot created the possibility of a row of identical houses that would follow a pattern typical of Historic Charleston.
Marion Square encompasses 10 acres in the heart of one the America’s most distinguished historic districts and figures prominently in the history of Charleston. Through the 18th century the City’s outer wall traversed the area, and in 1833 the site became The Citadel’s parade ground and a public park. Prior to the renovation the park had become little more than a level, featureless field bounded by perimeter trees and containing a handful of historical monuments.
Studio A assembled a talented, multi-discipline team to win a national competition for the park’s redevelopment by focussing on the potential to reestablish Marion Square as a significant, dynamic urban landscape equally at home within Charleston’s historic context and City’s contemporary life, accommodating a weekly farmers’ market, annual parades of Citadel cadets, outdoor performances and large scale civic events.
Under the leadership of Cambridge, MA landscape architect Michael VanValkenburgh (MVVA). Marion Square was transformed into an elegant urban oasis both restrained in its design elements and engaging to the public. MVVA used the space to interpret the site’s history, reflecting Charleston’s horticultural role as a port of entry for exotic vegetation in the southern United States through planting and by the introduction of a sophisticated and rich palette of appropriate site furniture, pavement, lighting and signage. Studio A was responsible for the future restroom and storage facilities planned for the park.
Pelican's Flight Drive, Dewees Island, South Carolina
A 1,400 square foot island residence surrounded by 1,600 square feet of screened porches and decks.
Every human artifact stands in marked contrast to the wildness of the place. In such a setting, the McDevitt house is conceived as a minimal outpost or camp. A broadmetal hipped roof and wide, encircling screened porches provide a basic refuge from the elements. Suspended within this shelter are two stacked levels - sleeping and bathing areas down in the shelter of the trees, kitchen and living room up above the treetops. The exterior walls are a curtain like series of glass doors, to allow the whole house to be opened up to cooling sea breezes. Wood piles that soar to the roof level echo the trunks of surrounding palmettos and live oaks.
Dewees Island is a vulnerable spit of land, much of it wetlands, seemingly on loan from the sea. Accessible only by boat, the island has been preserved in its wild, natural state. The maritime forest is rugged, with large wind-shorn trees bent into bonsai shapes and thick jungles of native vegetation. The marshes teem with fish and birds. To preserve the wilderness character of the place, highly restrictive covenants allow only a very small percentage of each lot to be disturbed or altered in any way.
Our portfolio spans 25 years and includes some examples of residential work that just did not manage to get built. Some of the patterns in the work show a consistency in approach to programme, form and geography. We still find it inspiring.